Though not as valuable as paintings or prints, photographs are highly collectible. Their value is determined by who the photographer is, the quality of the photograph, and the historical or artistic significance of the photograph. Collections of the works of a particular photographer are more desirable than individual photographs. Keep the photographs safe from damage by either framing them or laying them flat out of direct sunlight.
Prints can be an interesting field for collecting. The greatest value is determined by the artist, number of prints issued, whether they are an original issue or a reissue, and the amount of damage that may exist. To determine the value of a print, seek a reputable appraiser for guidance. Appraisers will also be able to provide sound instruction as to how to best care for the print to maintain its value. When selling prints, an auction environment will bring the greatest return.
Art collecting (and here, most people think of paintings when they think of art) is one of the most volatile of collecting endeavors. While it is easy to purchase valuable artwork from those with established reputations – and there is a hefty price tag that accompanies this fame – many people buy paintings on a speculative basis, hoping they will increase in value over time. More often than not, this is not a successful pursuit. Dealer after dealer insist that buyers should buy what they like because they like it, and not for anticipated value. The value of painting rests in the artist, and the condition of the painting – damage can reduce value by tens of thousands of dollars or more. It is important to know how to display and care for paintings, so close contact with experts will help maintain the value of the work.
Rugs and carpets, members of the textile family, are among the most collectible of antiques. Age, condition, origin, and manufacturer are all important factors in assessing value. Hand woven and hand dyed items are the most sought after. Damaged rugs and carpets should be repaired and restored in order to increase their value. The materials used in weaving can also deteriorate over time, so it is best to consult with an authority as to the best methods for protection. Rugs and carpets produced by culturally significant groups, or those known as artists in this field, have the greatest value of all.
Linens and other textiles can have significant value. The condition, quality, and age of the fabric are crucial. In addition, the weaver(s), origin, and history of the item are important as well. Damage can be a problem, so repair and restoration may be in order to bring the most interest. Store textiles by rolling them, and keeping them in tubes (when possible) and out of the light.
Furniture is a highly collectable decorative art, and can bring a tremendous return. The most valuable items have had their authenticity verified and have minimal damage. Older furniture should have a build-up of patina, and the original finish should not have been removed. The craftspeople who produced the furniture are important to its value, with the most influential furniture makers realizing the greatest demand. Keep any documentation safe, as this adds to value. If the furniture is part of a set, complete sets are worth more than the combined value of individual pieces.